Schlumberger ($SLB) stock is bouncing back on an earnings surprise that has the potential to make its 2020 a lot better than a dismal 2019. Other companies in the oilfield services and oil and gas space are hoping to report similar results for investors beginning next week.

Thinknum Alternative Data captured in the past how companies in the sector have begun to reduce job postings, as efficiency has been the name of the game in a space where commodity prices are stubbornly stuck.

And, it may be time to wonder if both jobs and job postings have been reduced to the point of maximum productivity, as well as share prices, to the point of becoming a bargain. Our first chart represents Halliburton ($HAL) stock and job postings, respectively down 50% and 56% from 2018 peaks. The company is expected to announce results on January 21, after the long weekend. 

Within the oil and gas space, there's little consistency in the way other market leaders have approached a challenging environment in which oil prices haven't risen back to old highs that kept even inefficient operators' P&L sheets in the black. Share prices across the space have struggled to maintain pace with broader market benchmarks, but one another competitor's data could prove reassuring to investors who stuck by the stocks in a difficult 2019.

National Oilwell Varco ($NOV) has - just like Halliburton - watched share prices and job postings plunge 57% and 71% respectively from 2018 peaks. When National Oilwell Varco reports earnings in early February, we'll get a better window into its efficiency.

Clay Williams, National Oilwell Varco CEO, praised the company’s attention “into the fourth quarter has been around that reorganization along with other cost-saving measures,” when he spoke on its November 2019 earnings call; CFO Jose Bayardo thanked “employees and our managers looking for ways to run our business more efficiently.” 

Big beats will have investors thanking them, next.

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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